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The Florida Statutes

The 2001 Florida Statutes

Title XVI
Education
Chapter 229
Functions Of State Educational Agencies
View Entire Chapter
Section 229.57, Florida Statutes 2001

229.57  Student assessment program.--

(1)  PURPOSE.--The primary purposes of the statewide assessment program are to provide information needed to improve the public schools by maximizing the learning gains of all students and to inform parents of the educational progress of their public school children. The program must be designed to:

(a)  Assess the annual learning gains of each student toward achieving the Sunshine State Standards appropriate for the student's grade level.

(b)  Provide data for making decisions regarding school accountability and recognition.

(c)  Identify the educational strengths and needs of students and the readiness of students to be promoted to the next grade level or to graduate from high school with a standard high school diploma.

(d)  Assess how well educational goals and performance standards are met at the school, district, and state levels.

(e)  Provide information to aid in the evaluation and development of educational programs and policies.

(f)  Provide information on the performance of Florida students compared with others across the United States.

(2)  NATIONAL EDUCATION COMPARISONS.--It is Florida's intent to participate in the measurement of national educational goals. The Commissioner of Education shall direct Florida school districts to participate in the administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or a similar national assessment program, both for the national sample and for any state-by-state comparison programs which may be initiated. Such assessments must be conducted using the data collection procedures, the student surveys, the educator surveys, and other instruments included in the National Assessment of Educational Progress or a similar program. The results of these assessments shall be included in the annual report of the Commissioner of Education specified in this section. The administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress or a similar program shall be in addition to and separate from the administration of the statewide assessment program.

(3)  STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM.--The commissioner shall design and implement a statewide program of educational assessment that provides information for the improvement of the operation and management of the public schools, including schools operating for the purpose of providing educational services to youth in Department of Juvenile Justice programs. Pursuant to the statewide assessment program, the commissioner shall:

(a)  Submit to the state board a list that specifies student skills and competencies to which the goals for education specified in the state plan apply, including, but not limited to, reading, writing, science, and mathematics. The skills and competencies must include problem-solving and higher-order skills as appropriate and shall be known as the Sunshine State Standards. The commissioner shall select such skills and competencies after receiving recommendations from educators, citizens, and members of the business community. The commissioner shall submit to the state board revisions to the list of student skills and competencies in order to maintain continuous progress toward improvements in student proficiency.

(b)  Develop and implement a uniform system of indicators to describe the performance of public school students and the characteristics of the public school districts and the public schools. These indicators must include, without limitation, information gathered by the comprehensive management information system created pursuant to s. 229.555 and student achievement information obtained pursuant to this section.

(c)  Develop and implement a student achievement testing program as part of the statewide assessment program, to be administered annually in grades 3 through 10 to measure reading, writing, science, and mathematics. The testing program must be designed so that:

1.  The tests measure student skills and competencies adopted by the state board as specified in paragraph (a). The tests must measure and report student proficiency levels in reading, writing, and mathematics. Science proficiency must be measured statewide beginning in 2003. Other content areas may be included as directed by the commissioner. The commissioner shall provide for the tests to be developed or obtained, as appropriate, through contracts and project agreements with private vendors, public vendors, public agencies, postsecondary institutions, or school districts. The commissioner shall obtain input with respect to the design and implementation of the testing program from state educators and the public.

2.  The tests are a combination of norm-referenced and criterion-referenced and include, to the extent determined by the commissioner, items that require the student to produce information or perform tasks in such a way that the skills and competencies he or she uses can be measured.

3.  Each testing program, whether at the elementary, middle, or high school level, includes a test of writing in which students are required to produce writings which are then scored by appropriate methods.

4.  A score is designated for each subject area tested, below which score a student's performance is deemed inadequate. The school districts shall provide appropriate remedial instruction to students who score below these levels.

5.  Except as provided in subparagraph 6., all 11th grade students take a high school competency test developed by the state board to test minimum student performance skills and competencies in reading, writing, and mathematics. The test must be based on the skills and competencies adopted by the state board pursuant to paragraph (a). Upon recommendation of the commissioner, the state board shall designate a passing score for each part of the high school competency test. In establishing passing scores, the state board shall consider any possible negative impact of the test on minority students. The commissioner may establish criteria whereby a student who successfully demonstrates proficiency in either reading or mathematics or both may be exempted from taking the corresponding section of the high school competency test or the college placement test. A student must earn a passing score or have been exempted from each part of the high school competency test in order to qualify for a regular high school diploma. The school districts shall provide appropriate remedial instruction to students who do not pass part of the competency test.

6.  Students who enroll in grade 9 in the fall of 1999 and thereafter must earn a passing score on the grade 10 assessment test described in this paragraph instead of the high school competency test described in subparagraph 5. Such students must earn a passing score in reading, writing, and mathematics to qualify for a regular high school diploma. Upon recommendation of the commissioner, the state board shall designate a passing score for each part of the grade 10 assessment test. In establishing passing scores, the state board shall consider any possible negative impact of the test on minority students.

7.  Participation in the testing program is mandatory for all students, including students served in Department of Juvenile Justice programs, except as otherwise prescribed by the commissioner. The commissioner shall recommend rules to the state board for the provision of test adaptations and modifications of procedures as necessary for students in exceptional education programs and for students who have limited English proficiency.

8.  A student seeking an adult high school diploma must meet the same testing requirements that a regular high school student must meet.

9.  School districts must provide instruction to prepare students to demonstrate proficiency in the skills and competencies necessary for successful grade-to-grade progression and high school graduation. The commissioner shall conduct studies as necessary to verify that the required skills and competencies are part of the district instructional programs.

10.  By January 1, 2000, the Department of Education must develop, or select, and implement a common battery of assessment tools which will be used in all juvenile justice programs in the state. These tools must accurately reflect criteria established in the Florida Sunshine State Standards.

The commissioner may design and implement student testing programs for any grade level and subject area, based on procedures designated by the commissioner to monitor educational achievement in the state.

(d)  Conduct ongoing research to develop improved methods of assessing student performance, including, without limitation, the use of technology to administer tests, the use of electronic transfer of data, the development of work-product assessments, and the development of process assessments.

(e)  Conduct ongoing research and analysis of student achievement data, including, without limitation, monitoring trends in student achievement, identifying school programs that are successful, and analyzing correlates of school achievement.

(f)  Provide technical assistance to school districts in the implementation of state and district testing programs and the use of the data produced pursuant to such programs.

(4)  DISTRICT TESTING PROGRAMS.--Each district shall periodically assess student performance and achievement within each school of the district. The assessment programs must be based upon local goals and objectives that are compatible with the state plan for education and that supplement the skills and competencies adopted by the State Board of Education. All school districts must participate in the state assessment program designed to measure annual student learning and school performance. All school districts shall report assessment results as required by the management information system.

(5)  SCHOOL TESTING PROGRAMS.--Each public school, unless specifically exempted by state board rule based on serving a specialized population for which standardized testing is not appropriate, shall participate in the state assessment program. Student performance data shall be analyzed and reported to parents, the community, and the state. Student performance data shall be used in developing objectives of the school improvement plan, evaluation of instructional personnel, evaluation of administrative personnel, assignment of staff, allocation of resources, acquisition of instructional materials and technology, performance-based budgeting, and promotion and assignment of students into educational programs. The analysis of student performance data also must identify strengths and needs in the educational program and trends over time. The analysis must be used in conjunction with the budgetary planning processes developed pursuant to s. 229.555 and the development of the programs of remediation described in s. 233.051.

(6)  ANNUAL REPORTS.--The commissioner shall prepare annual reports of the results of the statewide assessment program which describe student achievement in the state, each district, and each school. The commissioner shall prescribe the design and content of these reports, which must include, without limitation, descriptions of the performance of all schools participating in the assessment program and all of their major student populations as determined by the Commissioner of Education, and must also include the median scores of all eligible students who scored at or in the lowest 25th percentile of the state in the previous school year; provided, however, that the provisions of s. 228.093 pertaining to student records apply to this section. Until such time as annual assessments prescribed in this section are fully implemented, annual reports shall include student performance data based on existing assessments.

(7)  SCHOOL PERFORMANCE GRADE CATEGORIES.--Beginning with the 1998-1999 school year's student and school performance data, the annual report shall identify schools as being in one of the following grade categories defined according to rules of the state board:

(a)  "A," schools making excellent progress.

(b)  "B," schools making above average progress.

(c)  "C," schools making satisfactory progress.

(d)  "D," schools making less than satisfactory progress.

(e)  "F," schools failing to make adequate progress.

Beginning in the 1999-2000 school year, each school designated in performance grade category "A," making excellent progress, or as having improved at least two performance grade categories, shall have greater authority over the allocation of the school's total budget generated from the FEFP, state categoricals, lottery funds, grants, and local funds, as specified in state board rule. The rule must provide that the increased budget authority shall remain in effect until the school's performance grade declines.

(8)  DESIGNATION OF SCHOOL PERFORMANCE GRADE CATEGORIES.--School performance grade category designations itemized in subsection (7) shall be based on the following:

(a)  Timeframes.--

1.  School performance grade category designations shall be based on the school's current year performance and the school's annual learning gains.

2.  In the 2000-2001 school year, a school's performance grade category designation shall be based on a combination of student achievement scores as measured by the FCAT, on the degree of measured learning gains of the students, and on other appropriate performance data, including, but not limited to, dropout rate and student readiness for college.

3.  Beginning with the 2001-2002 school year and thereafter, a school's performance grade category designation shall be based on a combination of student achievement scores, student learning gains as measured by annual FCAT assessments in grades 3 through 10, and improvement of the lowest 25th percentile of students in the school in reading, math, or writing on the FCAT, including Florida Writes, unless these students are performing above satisfactory performance.

(b)  Student assessment data.--Student assessment data used in determining school performance grade categories shall include:

1.  The aggregate scores of all eligible students enrolled in the school who have been assessed on the FCAT.

2.  The aggregate scores of all eligible students enrolled in the school who have been assessed on the FCAT, including Florida Writes, and who have scored at or in the lowest 25th percentile of students in the school in reading, math, or writing, unless these students are performing above satisfactory performance.

The Department of Education shall study the effects of mobility on the performance of highly mobile students and recommend programs to improve the performance of such students. The state board shall adopt appropriate criteria for each school performance grade category. The criteria must also give added weight to student achievement in reading. Schools designated as performance grade category "C," making satisfactory progress, shall be required to demonstrate that adequate progress has been made by students in the school who are in the lowest 25th percentile in reading, math, or writing on the FCAT, including Florida Writes, unless these students are performing above satisfactory performance.

(9)  SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT RATINGS.--Beginning with the 1999-2000 school year's student and school performance data, the annual report shall identify each school's performance as having improved, remained the same, or declined. This school improvement rating shall be based on a comparison of the current year's and previous year's student and school performance data. Schools that improve at least one performance grade category are eligible for school recognition awards pursuant to s. 231.2905.

(10)  SCHOOL PERFORMANCE GRADE CATEGORY AND IMPROVEMENT RATING REPORTS.--School performance grade category designations and improvement ratings shall apply to each school's performance for the year in which performance is measured. Each school's designation and rating shall be published annually by the Department of Education and the school district. Parents and guardians shall be entitled to an easy-to-read report card about the designation and rating of the school in which their child is enrolled.

(11)  STATEWIDE ASSESSMENTS.--The Department of Education is authorized to implement annual assessments of students in grades 3 through 10.

(a)  The statistical system for the annual assessments shall use measures of student learning, such as the FCAT, to determine teacher, school, and school district statistical distributions, which shall be determined using available data from the FCAT, and other data collection as deemed appropriate by the Department of Education, to measure the differences in student prior year achievement against the current year achievement.

(b)  The statistical system shall provide for an approach which provides for the best estimates of teacher, school, and school district effects on pupil progress. The approach used by the department shall be approved by the commissioner before implementation for pupil progression assessment.

(c)  The annual testing program shall be administered to provide for valid statewide comparisons of learning gains to be made for purposes of accountability and recognition. The commissioner shall establish a schedule for the administration of the statewide assessments. In establishing such schedule, the commissioner is charged with the duty to accomplish the latest possible administration of the statewide assessments and the earliest possible provision of the results to the school districts feasible within available technology and specific appropriation. District school boards shall not establish school calendars that jeopardize or limit the valid testing and comparison of student learning gains.

(12)  LOCAL ASSESSMENTS.--Measurement of the learning gains of students in all subjects and grade levels other than subjects and grade levels required for the state assessment program is the responsibility of the school districts.

(13)  APPLICABILITY OF TESTING STANDARDS.--A student must meet the testing requirements for high school graduation which were in effect at the time the student entered 9th grade, provided the student's enrollment was continuous.

(14)  RULES.--The State Board of Education shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this section.

(15)  PERFORMANCE-BASED FUNDING.--The Legislature may factor in the performance of schools in calculating any performance-based funding policy that is provided for annually in the General Appropriations Act.

(16)  DISTRICT PERFORMANCE GRADE.--Beginning with the 2000-2001 school year's student and school performance data, the annual report required by subsection (6) shall include district performance grades, which shall consist of weighted district average grades, by level, for all elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in the district. A district's weighted average grade shall be calculated by weighting individual school grades determined pursuant to subsection (7) by school enrollment.

History.--ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, ch. 71-197; s. 1, ch. 74-205; s. 6, ch. 76-223; ss. 3, 4, ch. 80-392; s. 2, ch. 87-113; s. 4, ch. 90-99; s. 46, ch. 95-280; s. 3, ch. 97-2; s. 91, ch. 97-190; s. 19, ch. 98-281; s. 44, ch. 99-284; s. 7, ch. 99-398; s. 2, ch. 2000-235; s. 13, ch. 2001-61; s. 1, ch. 2001-90; s. 2, ch. 2001-157.

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